cloudworker
Work in the cloud
As cloud computing is approaching its tipping point, the importance of cloudworkers in small businesses will be enhanced.

Many consider 2010 as the year of the cloud industry. However, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Cloud computing will be worth US$2.5 billion in 2015, according to International Data Corporation report. Driven by businesses’ demand for cloud business computing, the cloud industry rapid growth is also driven by the increasingly popular cloudworkers.

Who is cloudworker, anyway? Well, it’s actually a term replacing the obsolete telecommuter about two and a half years ago. According to a Plantronics Press Release, here is a definition of cloudworker – a new term that renders telecommuter obsolete:

A cloudworker is somebody who uses on-demand technology and collaboration tools, such as unified communications, to work anywhere and anytime, and uses the resulting freedom to enable a my-size-fits-me career path and lifestyle. The metaphor of the cloud extends well beyond cloud computing and software as a service applications to include work environments, distributed teams, and communication tools.

In essence, cloudworker is someone who works in the cloud.

Let’s take a step back: How telecommute works

In layman’s term, telecommuting is the ability to work out-of-the-office. Once a novelty idea, telecommuting is now a popular strategy adopted by both small business owners and their employees as it is proven to bring many benefits to the small business, such as reducing office overheads, improving productivity and enhancing employee retention.

While more and more small businesses realise the benefits of encouraging their employees to telecommute, the rapid growth of cloud computing adoption by small businesses has transformed the idea of telecommuting itself.

Thus born cloudworking: Telecommuting done in the cloud, incorporating cloud technologies to make remote working possible – and more.

Here’s a taste of cloudworker’s enhanced work-life balance: No longer need to bring any laptops with you, you can just go to Bali, Indonesia, get a reliable Internet connection, login to your choice of cloud applications, in which your work stuffs are stored, and voila – you can work on the cloud while enjoying sunset in Kuta Beach.

Of course, as explained by Tim Ferris of 4-hour Workweek, you need to set things clear with your boss; you need to be allowed to cloud-work for an extended period of time – perhaps a couple of months – without the need to physically go to your office.

How cloudworkers can help your small business?

As we all know, there are productivity issues when it comes to office hours. Your employees’ effective work time will probably take 4 to 5 hours only, while the rest of the office hours are wasted on non-work-related activities, such as shopping online, checking out social media, reading blogs and news, playing games and – ahem – gossiping.

In essence, all of those are waste of resource, and as we know today, resources are scarce – especially if your small business is struggling to make ends meet. It’s probably a great idea to propose a win-win solution: Send your employees out of office to do cloudworking. This way, no more premise-related wasted resources for you, while more freedom for your employees.

Allowing – or even encouraging – your employees to work from home, coffee shops or any other locations except office can actually empower your employees to be more productive off-premise than on-premise – and help you retain those top performers without raising their salaries. Remember, money is no longer the major driving factor for employee retention; work-life-balance is the one.

Cloudworkers are your valuable asset

Adopting cloud computing to enable your small business to thrive is plausible. However, evolving your small business culture into cloud-friendly culture can help your small business leap-frogs the competitors.

Promoting cloudworking policies can benefit your small business in many ways, which can be translated into an increase in profit, improved capability to compete, and enhanced ability to respond to changes quickly.

The big question is, are you ready to embrace cloud computing and cloudworking?

Ivan Widjaya
Cloudworking rocks!
Image credit: BT.com blog